Saturday 17th August 2012 and we decided to visit the Dalston Country Fair at Dalston, Cumbria.
The show ground was easy to find, we just followed all the other slow moving traffic right to the car park! The car park was packed which proves how popular this show is which, for me, was great as these old fashioned rural shows seem to be in a sharp decline.
There were dozens of stalls and exhibitions, thankfully there were a number of catering stalls too because it was a really hot day. There were also a number of display arenas with all sorts of activities on the go, from the usual Pony Club displays to my favorite, the Cumberland Wrestling competition.
I had never seen this particular form of wrestling before but it clearly dates back a long way. The competitors are paired depending on weight which was done on what looked like a set of old grain scales! Some of the competitors were wearing traditional gear which consisted of what looked like a pair of white long johns with a pair of Y-fronts worn, Batman style!! The competition is over three rounds of indeterminable time. Before the bell, the competitors must face each other and get a grip by wrapping their arms around each other in a sort of "crouching Bear Hug" then, once the bell sounds, they attempt to throw each other to the floor. It was brilliant and clearly extremely popular with everyone as the spectators were three deep all around the arena. This was terrible for me as I could not find a decent spot from which to take some pictures. I will definitely return, more suitably prepared!
Gear wise I had decided to travel light with just one lens, my new Sigma 50mm f1.4 Prime lens and my Canon EOS 60D. Due to the sunshine I also decided to use a circular polarising filter. I was really pleased with the lens, the resulting images were just what I had hoped for but the proof will be when I use it in poor light conditions.
In addition to the wrestling, there was also a cattle show which really took me back to when I used to prepare cattle for the Leicester Christmas Market Show way back in the 1980's. In addition to the usual breeds like the Limousin and Charolais, there was also a breed I had never seen called the British Blue. I took a few pictures of this particular breed, not only because they looked magnificent, but also because they are, in the main, black!
The display of vintage tractors was excellent with some really good examples of David Brown as well as the old Fergies and Fordsons's. I am always in awe of the people who dedicate so much time into the care and repair of these old vehicles. I wonder how many of the current, computer controlled and air conditioned tractors will still be around in fifty years time.
We spent a really enjoyable 4 hours wandering around the show, my hat goes off to the organisers and those who participated. To me, it is so important that these rural shows stay in business as it is part of our heritage.
Anyway, until next time please stay safe.